Earlier this month, two of our board members Clare Symonds and Helen McDade, spoke at the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee, as part of the process of lodging our Equal Rights of Appeal Petition.
At the November 11 meeting, Chair Clare Symonds re-iterated to the Committee the need for Equal Rights of Appeal in the Scottish Planning system.
She said: “Our research shows that the system is not working for Scottish citizens. People do not feel listened to when it comes to key development decisions. The promises of better participation are not working in practice.
“The lack of an equal right to appeal is seen by communities as one of the most unpopular and unjust aspects of the current planning system
“Exhausted, isolated, anguished, traumatised, frustrated, baffled, depressed, rejected, raw and wounded”.
“These are words that have been used by ordinary people to describe their experience of democratic planning in Scotland. The words are shockingly emotive and seem better to describe the feelings of someone exposed to civil war or extreme ill health than of a responsible citizen taking part in one of society’s democratic opportunities.
“Yet these emotive terms are not unusual, we have spoken, to many individuals who describe their feelings in such a way.
“We know that there is lots of dissatisfaction, we have our own evidence for it. But is anyone interested in hearing the voice of Scottish citizens?”
Following the debate the committee resolved to seek written evidence on the petition from a number of other bodies. Although Planning Democracy urged MSPs to seek evidence directly from a number of community groups the final list of organisations that the committee will seek views from did not contain any.
Instead the committee has asked the following organisations to respond to the petition:
- The Scottish Government
- Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland
- Planning Aid for Scotland
- Heads of Planning Scotland
- Homes for Scotland
- Scottish Wildlife Trust
Planning Democracy will also get a chance to respond to the evidence submitted by these organisations, as well as the opportunity to submit our evidence.
You can find full details of the Equal Rights of Appeal petition on the Scottish Parliament website.
If you know of a good case study that we could use to show why Scotland needs an Equal Right of Appeal, please do get in touch, and if you’d like to support our campaign, we’d be really grateful if you could consider writing to your MSP to ask them to back Equal Right of Appeal.
Photo credit: Scottish Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.